Davao Christian High School is blessed by the Lord through the return of her graduates to serve in the institution. The Return of the Alumni Column features the stories of these men and women who, through God's calling, came back to serve in DCHS.
(Author’s Note: This article is a speech I delivered 20 years ago during the Oath-taking of Professional Teachers. I share it here because it still speaks of my basic views about education and about life – that teaching is less about degrees and more about touching lives, that honor is less about receiving and more about giving. My hope is that this article will inspire the reader to live lives that make a difference in other people’s lives – by God’s grace and for God’s glory.)
Passing the licensure examination, although important, does not make one a teacher. Today, as I take my oath, I remember several of my own teachers.
I remember Ms. Par, who taught me and who continues to teach many to love math and to sing with gusto the song: “Love Mathematics, yes I do. Love Mathematics, yes I do…”
I remember Ms. Bringas, my Grade 4 adviser, who made sure each student felt special on his birthday. She would call the celebrator to the front, have classmates sing the birthday song, intentionally apply very, very red lipstick, and together with a hug – SMACK! The celebrator gets a special mark on his cheek for his birthday.
I remember Mr. Honorario who coached me and some friends for Math Olympiad in high school. He’d stay in school until past six just to teach us – without extra pay. Around six or seven years after, he called me up at the office and asked if I would be interested to help in school. That call started my teaching career.
And I remember a lot of others who taught me to thirst for knowledge, to work with values, and to strive for excellence. Indeed, it is an honor to be a teacher. Yet lest we forget, Calvin Coolidge reminds us: “No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”
I feel grateful for teachers like Ma’am Par and Sir Honorario who have given themselves to help you and me be what we can be.
At the same time, I feel challenged to be a teacher who gives of himself to help students be what they were meant to be. Yes, the task is difficult. It may even seem impossible. Yet I am always inspired by a story I read which I would like to share with you.
There was an old man who walked along the beach one sunny morning. Soon, he came to see a young man picking up starfish here and there and throwing them back to the sea. Curiously, the old man inquire, “What in the world are you doing, my boy?”
“You see, sir” the young man explained, “These starfish were washed ashore last night. And if they stay here until noontime, they would surely dry up from the heat and die. I’m trying to save them by throwing them back into the sea.”
The old man felt it was useless and insisted, “Don’t you know how many starfish here are on this beach and how many beaches there are around the world? What difference does it make?”
The young man stopped to pick up another starfish and looked at it for a long time.
He then turned to the old man and said, “I really don’t know about the world but – I’m sure I make a difference for this one.” With that, he threw the starfish back to the sea.
How I long for the day when one of my students would come and say, “Sir, you have made a difference in my life.”
Perhaps, then, I would feel the honor of being a teacher. Because being a teacher is not just about passing licensure exams. Being a teacher is about making a difference in students’ lives.
Arthur Brian Yap graduated from Davao Christian High School in 1988 and returned to teach in 1994 after being invited by his high school math teacher, Sir Oca. In 2004, he was promoted to Campus Director and in 2015 he became School President and Campus Director of the second DCHS campus along C. P. Garcia Highway. Learn more about the new CPG Campus here.